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Modeling Antarctic ice shelf responses to future climate changes and impacts on the ocean


Kusahara, K and Hasumi, H, Modeling Antarctic ice shelf responses to future climate changes and impacts on the ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 118 pp. 2454-2475. ISSN 2169-9275 (2013) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 American Geophysical Union. Kusahara, K., Hasumi, H (2013), Modeling Antarctic ice shelf responses to future climate changes and impacts on the ocean, Journal of geophysical research: oceans, 118, 2454-2475, 10.1002/jgrc.20166. To view the published open abstract, go to

DOI: doi:10.1002/jgrc.20166


We investigate basal melting of all Antarctic ice shelves by a circumpolar ice shelf-sea ice-ocean coupled model and estimate the total basal melting of 770944 Gt/yr under present-day climate conditions. We present a comparison of the basal melting with previous observational and modeling estimates for each ice shelf. Heat sources for basal melting are largely different among the ice shelves. Sensitivities of the basal melting to surface air warming and to enhanced westerly winds over the Antarctic Circumpolar Current are investigated from a series of numerical experiments. In this model the total basal melting strongly depends on the surface air warming but is hardly affected by the change of westerly winds. The magnitude of the basal melting response to the warming varies widely from one ice shelf to another. The largest response is found at ice shelves in the Bellingshausen Sea, followed by those in the Eastern Weddell Sea and the Indian sector. These increases of basal melting are caused by increases of Circumpolar Deep Water and/or Antarctic Surface Water into ice shelf cavities. By contrast, basal melting of ice shelves in the Ross and Weddell Seas is insensitive to the surface air warming, because even in the warming experiments there is high sea ice production at the front of the ice shelves that keeps the water temperature to the surface freezing point. Weakening of the thermohaline circulation driven by Antarctic dense water formation under warming climate conditions is enhanced by basal melting of ice shelves.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ice, shelf-sea, ice-ocean modeling
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Climate change science
Research Field:Climate change processes
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)
UTAS Author:Kusahara, K (Dr Kazuya Kusahara)
ID Code:109275
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:45
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2016-06-07
Last Modified:2017-10-30
Downloads:178 View Download Statistics

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